Who we are
AACA is the national voice for architect registration boards around Australia. AACA owns the National Standard of Competency for Architects. The National Standard underpins all assessment processes including the accreditation of architecture programs leading to registration as an architect in Australia.
Set up as a not-for-profit organisation, we were established in the 1970s in response to the need for a nationally consistent approach to eligibility for registration and the recognition of overseas qualifications in architecture.
We are building our capacity as the key source of information about the architecture profession in Australian and how it compares with architectural education and regulation around the world.
What we do
- consult with key organisations to develop, maintain and promote the National Standard of Competency for Architects
- develop and provide competency-based assessment programs to determine eligibility for registration as an architect in Australia
- administer the Architecture Program Accreditation Procedure in Australia and New Zealand on behalf of the architect registration boards.
- Facilitate international mutual recognition agreements in regard to architectural education and registration as an architect in Australia
- Assess overseas qualifications for architects seeking to register as an architect in Australia
- Provide accurate data on the profession of architecture in Australia and overseas
Who we work with
AACA operates as the gatekeeper of threshold standards for eligibility to practice as an architect in Australia. We work with:
- State & Territory Architects Registration Boards
- Australian Institute of Architects
- Associations of Consulting Architects in Australia
- Australian Schools of Architecture
- Commonwealth Government Departments of Education and Immigration and Border Control
Collaboration with Architect Registration Boards
Each of the Nominating Bodies (architect registration boards) is an independent statutory authority and is responsible for administering the Architects Act in its jurisdiction. The Boards and the AACA work in collaboration on matters of national interest to the profession, industry and the public.
Catherine Townsend, President
Catherine Townsend is ACT Government Architect and Director of Townsend + Associates Architects. Catherine provides strategic advice to government informed by concurrent professional practice and years of representational roles in the built environment.
Karen Alcock is a committed advocate for the architecture profession and promoting contemporary practice. She was an examiner on the ARBV from 2003 to 2016, a member of the Victorian Chapter Council from 2015 to 2019, and a current member of The University of Melbourne Architecture Advisory Board. Karen has also been the AIA representative on the Building Advisory Council and represented them on Building Better Apartments Advisory Group. In 2020, Karen has also been appointed chair of the ARBV. Karen is the sole director of a medium sized practice (10), MAArchitects (MAA), that specialises in mixed use, residential and commercial projects. MAA work across all types of procurement including: lump sum and novated, design and construct contracts. Karen believes as a profession we have a significant contribution to make to our clients and the community, but we need to do this with the highest professional standards, and a clear understanding of our obligations under the Architects Act 1991. In an environment where the issues and risks of practice are constantly changing, Karen believes her 25 years of practice experience, combined with her time as an examiner, provides a valuable insight to AACA.
Dr Deborah Dearing
Deborah Dearing is an architect with over 35 years’ international experience in architecture, urban design, planning and property development within both government and private organisations. Dr Dearing is currently the Deputy Chief Commissioner and District Commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission, President of the NSW Architects Registration Board and a member of the Henry Halloran Trust at the University of Sydney. Her previous roles included working with the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority as Executive Director of Place Renewal, working with Stockland as National Manager of Design and Strategic Urban Planning, appointment to the Board of Architectus and the role of Director of Urban Design, and appointment as Executive Director of the NSW Department of Urban Affairs and Planning where she was responsible for management of the Greater Metropolitan Area of Sydney and was the founding Director of the NSW Urban Design Advisory Service. She brings a strong record of personal commitment to fostering positive, collaborative relationships with all stakeholders and has been professionally recognised by many prestigious awards. In 2010, she was awarded Life Fellowship of the Australian Institute of Architects for service to architecture and urban design and in 2018, she was recipient of the Australian Institute of Architects NSW Chapter President’s Prize for her contribution to the profession.
Keith has been a registered architect in Tasmania since 1987, and has successfully delivered hundreds of commercial and institutional projects for government and the private sector. Keith began his involvement with professional associations as graduate representative on the RAIA Tasmanian Chapter, moving through various roles including the professional development and practice committees to RAIA Tasmanian State President and RAIA National Councillor. He is currently an AIA Senior Counsellor and Fellow of the RAIA. Keith has been AACA APE Regional Convenor (Tas) since 2009 and is currently AACA APE National Convenor.
Malcolm Middleton is the current Queensland Government Architect and in this role is an advocate for the recognition of the value to all projects through well considered design processes. He provides project and policy advice and undertakes design reviews across many areas of government. Malcolm chairs the Queensland Urban Design and Places Panel as well as Brisbane Open House Ltd and is a Life Fellow of the RAIA.
MBA(Exec) GAICD JP FRAIA Architect 6267 (NSW)
Kathlyn joins the AACA as the previous COO / General Manager of national architectural practices; the NSW AIA President 2019-2021 (Feb); and an AACA Assessor (2013-2020). She brings a background of considerable involvement in shaping changes to the regulatory frameworks in the construction industry, particularly the NSW design and building regulations of 2019-2021(Feb). She has appreciated multiple perspectives from experience working for US, UK and Australian architectural businesses.